Feature Article

Wally Hollyday Interview

Most cities don’t realize what a positive image a skatepark can create for their city.

California Skateparks Construction Manager and Principal Designer – Wally Hollyday
What is the largest skatepark you have built?
Lakewood, (I think). The first park I made. About 70,000+ sq. feet.

Wally Hollyday of California Skateparks. Photo by Rene Morales

Wally Hollyday of California Skateparks. Photo by Rene Morales

How does Fontana compare to it?
Fontana is higher quality and a far more interesting design than Lakewood (it is 23 years later after all). Lakewood was the best park at the time. It had the best trannys and smoothest concrete. All the parks before it sucked. Fontana, I hope will put an emphasis on quality once again.

What do you perceive as the biggest misconception cities have going into building a skatepark?
Most cities don’t realize what a positive image a skatepark can create for their city. They just want to go through the motions and get it done. At Fontana they wanted a park that would set an example for other cities and be something they could be really proud of. They really put their heart into this park and it shows.

How long did the whole process take from the point of initial contact with the city?
9 months (3 for construction)

Is this the usual amount of time? Can there be any advice to speed along the process?
Because it was a design/build it saved a lot of time. The design took about a
month (we had 2 design meetings) construction docs took over 2 months and
then 2 more months for review and revisions. Final approval and permits took
another month. I started construction beginning of Dec. and finished last of
concrete in about 2 months. We spent the last month on fencing, lights, and
landscaping. Leave out the plans and plan check and you save a lot of time. But for most
cities that process takes years not months.

Is there a special kind of finishing coat you apply to the concrete to get the smooth finish?
No. Our finish is a result of precise shaping and skillful finishing.

Is it something that only you work with or do other builders out there use it too?
Skill? Only us.

Fontana's new combination bowl, with vert!
Fontana’s new combination bowl, with vert!

Do you have any parks on the horizon with vertical aspects?
Clairmont YMCA. 10′ deep multi-bowl with tile and coping (like Fontana but totally different). We are shooting shot-crete next week. Next month we are doing another version (totally different) for Montrose.

In the year 2002 how many parks does CA. Skateparks plan on completing?
12 that we have either completed (2), under construction (2), or have contracts for (8). Plus a couple others that I hope to get.

Are there any other builders/designers work you admire?
The Oregon guys do some interesting designs and make good trannys. Their finish could be better but they do the hard part right.

What is the most pleasing part of completing a new skatepark?
I like it when people are amazed.

Also check out Fontana Skatepark.